Divine Chocolate announces the departure of CEO Sophi Tranchell MBE
POSTED 17th June 2020

Sophi Tranchell MBE, the first MD of Divine Chocolate, and its CEO over the last 21 years, left the company in May 2020.

Her decision to leave came last November and she has focused since then on ensuring the company was left in good hands and well-supported for the future.

Sophi Tranchell, throughout her leadership of Divine, has been a champion of Fairtrade, of business as a force for good, and of women achieving equality, particularly farmers in the chocolate supply chain. She has demonstrated time and time again that things no-one thought possible can be done – starting with creating a chocolate company that turned ‘business-as-usual’ on its head by making farmers the biggest shareholders.

Sophi Tranchell says:

“I am immensely proud of Divine, what it stands for and what it has achieved. With a great team, and investors who had the vision and patience to support us, we set out to make a real difference in the chocolate industry – a real transition towards more equitable trade that could never again be un-done. I believe Divine has led and catalysed such a change.

“Working closely with farmers has been an absolute privilege – their lives have enriched mine and hopefully, via the farmers’ stories we have told, other lives have been enriched too. It has been especially rewarding to see the positive impact achieved for women as they are able to step up and take their rightful place in the chocolate story.

The same goes for both the extraordinary individuals I have been able to work with who have given their support, advice and inspiration, and the thousands of people who vocally and actively continue to join us on the journey. Divine wouldn’t be here today without all of them and their imagination, courage and commitment.

“Divine’s mission goes on – there is still a lot to do – but farmers’ income is right in the spotlight, as is the urgent need for social, environmental, and economic sustainability, so there is optimism for more positive developments. The Social Enterprise and B Corporation movements are setting inspiring examples and there is now a critical mass of discerning consumers who expect more of the companies they are buying from.

“I am reassured to be leaving the company with our main manufacturer Weinrich having capitalized the business, in the knowledge that Weinrich’s CEO Cord Budde has been, and continues to be a totally committed partner, sharing Divine’s values and supporting its mission and ambitions.”

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For further information and images please contact Charlotte Borger at charlotteb@divinechocolate.com.

Editor’s notes:


From June 2020: please contact Ruth Harding (Ruth@Divinechocolate.com) who will be overseeing the UK operation or Toby Bundy (Toby@divinechocolate.com) interim CFO.

Troy Pearley (Troy@Divinechocolate.com) continues to head up Divine’s USA operation.

Sophi Tranchell – selected biographical notes

Appointed the first MD of Divine Chocolate in 1999
Founder member of UK Fairtrade Leaders 2000 - 2020
Founding Trustee of Trading Visions 2003 -
Chair of Fairtrade London (running ‘Make London a Fairtrade City’ campaign) 2003-
Founding member and Co-Chair of Social Enterprise London 2000 – 2012
Real Business/CBI Award First Woman Award for Business 2007
Made MBE for services to the food industry 2008/9 Honours List
Social Enterprise Ambassador - programme 2007-10
Member, Council for Social Action (founded by Gordon Brown) 2007-10
London Food Board 2010 - 2018
Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur 2010.
Merges US business with UK company 2015
Becomes CEO of newly merged Divine Chocolate Group 2015
Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2016
Finalist Veuve Cliquot Business Women of the Year 2017
Member, DFID Trade for Development - Expert Trade Advisory Group 2018-20
Trustee of Greenwich Leisure Limited 2019 -